Payne, Jr. Applauds New Obama Proposal for Battling Cancer

Feb 9, 2016 Issues: Health Care

Washington, D.C. – As President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Request today, Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) announced that it includes, as part of the national “Moonshot” initiative to eliminate cancer, critical funding to eliminate beneficiary coinsurance for screening colonoscopies with polyp removal.

“President Obama’s budget proposal speaks to our values as a country,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “This includes giving Americans better health security by making health care more affordable and accessible. I am particularly pleased that the President, after listening to my request, is committed to correcting unfair policy by removing cost barriers to colorectal cancer treatment.”

Currently, seniors covered by Medicare are eligible for colorectal cancer screenings without cost sharing. However, if a polyp is found and removed during testing—which is impossible to know beforehand—the procedure is reclassified, and the patient is subject to 20 percent coinsurance for the screening, which creates a financial challenge for beneficiaries to receive care. The elimination of beneficiary coinsurance when a screening colonoscopy results in polyp removal would eliminate a financial barrier that beneficiaries face in receiving preventive care.

Payne, Jr. has long fought to eliminate this unintended deterrent to life-saving colorectal cancer screenings for Medicare beneficiaries.

Congressman Payne, Jr. had urged the President to include these corrective actions in his budget in a 2014 letter. In March 2015, Payne, Jr. signed on as the lead Democratic sponsor of H.R.1220, the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act of 2015, bipartisan legislation that waives cost-sharing under Medicare for preventive colonoscopies, even if a polyp or tissue is removed.

Payne, Jr. is now calling on the House committees of jurisdiction to immediately move forward the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act.

“We have a moral obligation to increase accessibility for Medicare beneficiaries seeking life-saving colorectal cancer screenings and treatment,” said Congressman Payne, Jr. “I urge my colleagues to build on this momentum and quickly advance the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act, so seniors can get the care they need and deserve.”